New Library Directors Handbook

Montana State Library Overview

This chapter is devoted to the Montana State Library. We will talk about the different divisions and units and what each one does. Montana's library system has grown significantly since the state first started to support the system in 1929. Today there are 80 public libraries and 28 branch libraries serving Montana residents, about 500 elementary and high school libraries, and 27 academic libraries in post-secondary institutions. In addition, there are six institutional libraries and about 52 special libraries meeting the specialized needs of businesses, hospitals, and government agencies.

All of Montana's publicly funded libraries work in partnership with one another and their local communities to form information networks and provide a better return on the citizens' investment. Thanks to advanced technologies, libraries use networks to locate and borrow books and materials, fax and email services to transfer information via telephone lines, satellites and modems to provide ongoing educational opportunities to rural areas. With improved cooperation among different types of libraries and better access to expanding technologies, Montana libraries are improving access to information locally, regionally and internationally.